Parents angry after E.coli farm reopens for Halloween

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The Independent Online

The petting farm at the centre of an E.coli outbreak that left several children seriously ill and more than 90 people reporting symptoms of the infection, has reopened despite a storm of criticism from parents.

Godstone Farm in Surrey opened its play areas yesterday but kept all visitors out of contact with animals. The attraction, which is still under investigation by the Health Protection Authority, will hold Halloween-related events this weekend.

The petting farm closed its doors on 12 September after several of its visitors were diagnosed with the potentially fatal O157 strain of the bug. At the height of the outbreak, 93 were reported to have contracted the infection. Yesterday Tandridge council said it had assured the HPA that people would have no contact with any animals and that areas of the farm that were open had been "thoroughly cleaned and disinfected and have since been tested and been negative for E.coli".

But Tracy Mock, whose two-year-old twins spent weeks in hospital fighting the bug after visiting the site said she was "shocked" to hear of the opening. "I was under the impression the farm was going to stay closed until they had finished their investigations," she said. She is among a number of parents that are considering legal action.

A statement from Godstone Farm said: "The children who were affected are still on our minds and we very much hope that every one of them is well on the way to recovery".